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Posted by on Oct 29, 2014 in Italian food, Local foods, vegan / vegetarian | 10 comments

Vegan food Rome – the best guide to vegetarian Italy

Vegan food Rome – the best guide to vegetarian Italy

When we thing about vegan food Rome, we think about Pasta and pizza, but is there more to it?

Rome, the eternal city, is probably one of the most beautiful places in the world!

If you come to Rome, you’ll notice you won’t need to step into a museum, since the whole city seems to be an open air exhibition of history and art. This is one of my favorite places in the world and every time I return, Rome grabs my heart. But this time, Rome grabbed my attention through my stomach.


Decided to learn more about the vegan and vegetarian foods in Rome, I took a very special Rome food tour. They have an unusual knowledge about vegan and vegetarian foods and are very happy to welcome vegans and vegetarians on their small group tours.


Vegan and vegetarian food in Rome, Italy


Forget all about the super crowded touristy restaurants in central Rome. We were going to explore the real deal, the real Roman food, where locals eat on a daily basis and family businesses thrive for generations. Some of the stores we visited were historical landmarks in the beautiful and very peaceful Testaccio neighborhood.



Vegan food Rome Italy


Opened since 1934, the Barberini cafe bar and pasticceria, has been making the life of Tescaccio sweeter. Vegetarians will love this place, but so will vegans!


Vegetarian food Rome Italy


This is a very local spot, where local Testaccinos with a sweet tooth like to come for a treat. You’ll find an amazing variety of traditional Italian home made pastries. This is the perfect place to start the day, enjoying the famous capuccino and a piece of cake.


Vegetarian food Rome Italy



This gourmet food store has been opened for 40 years and offers high quality products, from hundreds of different types of cheese, to a great selection of Olives, top quality olive oils, balsamic vinegars (some of them 100 years old!) and much more.

Apart from the impressive cheese varieties, you’ll find extraordinaire olives. I’ve tasted them and I’ll admit they’re my top favorite so far.  And if you din’t know yet…. I’m crazy for olives. That would be my number one food choice if I would get stuck in a tropical island!


Vegan food Rome Italy


The selection of vegetables here are top quality, fresh, local and seasonal.


Vegan food Rome Italy


I rarely find artichokes during my travels. Romans love them, and they’re an integral part of the healthy Mediterranean diet we all adopt here in Southern Europe. I’ve tried one of these and…. mama mia!


Vegan food Rome Italy



I’ve been a vegan for 14 years, and let me tell you…Finding vegan pizza around the world is not an easy task.  For most people, the more toppings they put on a pizza, the better. This drives any Italian crazy, as for Italians food is all about the flavors, freshness of the ingredients and simplicity.

Vegan food Rome Italy


Italy, is probably the best place in the world for vegans to find pizza. Simply ask for a “pizza Rossa” and you’ll have your vegan pizza. My pizza at Volpetti Piu was absolutely delicious. A typical thin crust and crunchy pizza with tomato sauce and herbs.


Vegan food Rome Italy



In most Mediterranean countries, the local market is the place where people go, not only to buy the most fresh products, but also to chatt and talk about the latest news.  Markets have always been the center of most cities and villages, and the place to socialize and start the day.


Vegan food Rome Italy


The Testaccio market offered some of the most beautiful and varied vegetables I’ve seen in years. Italians still like to know where their food comes from. They love quality, freshness and locally produced products. This is something regular supermarkets can’t offer.


Vegan food Rome Italy


If you’re preparing a dish and come to the market for your veggies, you can simply tell the owner of your favorite stand what you’re planning to cook. They’ll tell you which are the best ingredients for your dish.


Vegan food Rome Italy


Where else in the world will you find baby Zucchini with flowers still attached and such great fresh and local Artichokes?


Vegan food Rome Italy


One of the best things about food tours, is the possibility to sample all sorts of local foods, with a knowledgeable guide which will tell you all about the history and anecdotes about each thing you try.  Here, our lovely guide Kate, shared a tray off traditional fresh bread and showed us how to do a Bruschetta.


Vegan food Rome Italy


This was definitely my favorite sample of the day. Freshly made Bruschetta. The tomatoes were delicious and the bread so fresh. Did you know each Italian eats an average of 90kg’s of tomatoes a year?


Vegan food Rome Italy


Giant Olives and tomato salad. These are the biggest olives I’ve seen in my life so far!


Vegan food Rome Italy


Cannelloni anyone?  Not vegan enough for me, but vegetarian enough for dairy lovers.  At the Testaccio market you can actually buy freshly made cannelloni, prepared right in front of your eyes. They looked good, I wish there were vegan cannellonies there.


Vegetarian  food Rome Italy



This stunning restaurant serves real traditional and hearty Roman meals.

And what would a Rome food tour be, without the pasta? Once again, simplicity and flavor is the priority of a pasta dish. The sauce was absolutely delicious and the pasta cooked “al dente”. Forget about the mushy pasta people have a tendency to cook. You’ll get an evil eye if you ever tell an Italian you like it mushy.


Vegan food Rome Italy



This stunning bar opened in 1914 and it’s probably one of the most interesting landmarks in our Testaccio Food Tour.  Armando’s family has been making some of the best gelatos since 1890!  Their knowledge has been passing through generations and you can taste the love and dedication Armando puts on his Gelatos, which are made with 100% seasonal and local ingredients. No artificial coloring or preservatives. And why eat gelato when in Rome? Because they’re the best in the world!

Vegan food Rome Italy

There are two delicious vegan varieties, the strawberry / lemon was the perfect combination to finish my tour and cool down from the Roman warm weather. My stomach was full and I feel I’ve learned a lot from this amazing tour!

The vegan food Rome is absolutely delicious, varied and fresh. If you come to Rome, don’t hesitate in experimenting all the freshness of the traditional Roman foods.

Are you going to Rome and need to find accommodation? Take a look at


This amazing experience was a courtesy of  Italy Food Tours. They run small guided groups through the non-touristy areas of Rome, offering unforgettable experiences and deep knowledge on each of the foods we sample.  Italy Food Tours supports locally owned small business and helps the local economy thrive. For more info and to book a tour, visit their website!




  1. Nice! Thank you for this article. I am planning a trip to Italy next year, and as a Vegan, was concerned about my options…

    – Cynthia with

    • Hi Cynthia, nice to know the article was inspiring and helpful. Italy is every vegan paradise. Italians follow a Mediterranean diet, rich in veggies, fruit, grains and believe it or not, their traditional dishes are not heavy on meat.

      I didn’t even scraped the surface of the Italian foods, but this food tour of the non-tourist area of Rome was a lot of fun.

      Let me know how your vegan Italian adventure went 😉

  2. Please don’t limit your experience to the big city! Even out in the countryside and around Rome there are lots of great places to find quality vegetarian and vegan options, even if the restaurants aren’t always strictly vegetarian/vegan. Italians love pasta and pizza and their vegetables. In our area of the Monti Prenestini we have food festivals decicated to strawberries in the spring (Carchitti), traditional cookies (giglietti di Palestrina) in the summer and chestnuts (Capranica Prenestina) and grapes (Zagarolo and Genazzano) in the fall. The winter is a great time to eat polenta with all kinds of great toppings to suit any taste. Plus there is always the Gelateria Greed in Labico which provides the best ice cream around and cultural associations like Vino in Itinere which organize wine tastings and special home-cooked meals using only local produce. A vegan friend of mine has organized a famer’s market in Zagarolo which takes place every Sunday morning and is a showcase for all of the wonderful organic food from our area (honey, mushrooms, fruit & vegetables, olive oil, wine, in addition to other products like home-made soaps, traditional baskets, plants & flowers. Even if you don’t want to rent a car, there is functional public transportation and there are lots of B&B’s around here where owners are willing to go the extra mile and help tourists w/o transport.

    • Hi Jennifer, you’re absolutely right. Italian food goes way beyond what I’ve shown in this article, this was a tiny sample of the diversity of the Italian vegetarian cuisine.

      Unfortunately I had 3 days to explore Rome, this tour was a great way to learn about some of the foods as well as a very local area of Rome, which can sometimes be overwhelmingly crowded with tourists.

      I wish I had the time to explore the countryside which for me personally, is way more interesting than visiting the city center. Thank you so much for all your tips I got really curious to explore the gems of real Italy. I might return in 2015, and if I manage to go down to that area, I will definitely follow all your tips. They’re on my wish list already 😉

      • In fact, that’s what the majority of tourists do. And often times when they stick to the city, they only end up tasting the touristy stuff at exclusively touristy prices. If you come to our area, please let me know. I’d be happy to provide other info as well to make sure that you have a great time and that you find the best of what the Monti Prenestini have to offer!!

        • I personally prefer real local experiences, away from the masses. This tour was great, because this area of Testaccio was not touristy, but the country side will always have my heart. So Jennifer, when I get the chance to return to Italy, I’ll contact you and ask you for tips :) That would be fun!

  3. I’m not familiar with the Testaccio? I go to Rome every year and stay in Trastevere. One of my favorite things is walking over to Campo di Fiori market every morning and buying fresh fruit and vegetables. The vendors always tell me how they want me to prepare them, and then ask how it was when I go back the next morning.
    Rome is one of my favorite cities in the world – I am in love with it! And now I need to go to Testaccio when I go back, and check out all these wonderful places :))

  4. Looking at all this fresh produce is making me hungry! I am glad you were able to find more than plain old pizza and pasta in Rome, you would think with all these delicious veggies around, this country should be a veggie lovers dream!


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